Alameda County deputy exposed to fentanyl highlights importance of Narcan

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office says a deputy went to the hospital Wednesday night after being exposed to fentanyl during an arrest. The incident highlights why some law enforcement agencies are now carrying the life-saving drug Narcan.

The sheriff’s office released a photo showing the moment one of their deputies tackled a suspect in mid-air while hopping over a backyard fence in Hayward. It all happened during a chase with a man suspected of selling drugs.

“We know from talking to the suspect that he swallowed a bundle of fentanyl, he told us about a gram of that he ate. One of our officers that interacted with him during that time began to feel ill,” said Sgt. Ray Kelly with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. 

Both men were hospitalized for exposure to fentanyl but are said to be ok. In June, another Alameda County deputy was exposed to a lethal level of fentanyl, during a drug bust at a motel in Hayward, and had to be revived with Narcan.

“We obviously had a very personal incident that saved the life of our deputy and for that we're thankful that we were ahead of the curve and saw that trend,” said Kelly. 

Less than a year ago, the sheriff's office invested $10,000 in this miracle drug. It reverses the depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system caused by opioids.

Popstar Demi Lovato was administered Narcan after she recently overdosed on opioids. We're told a friend had a dose of the life-saving drug on them.  

We're learning it's pretty easy to get. Narcan can be purchased, without a prescription from a local pharmacy. KTVU stopped at a Rite Aid in San Leandro where the drug was being sold for $147 for two doses. All one has to do is fill out a questionnaire and complete a consultation.

Narcan isn't just for people who abuse drugs.

“There are people who are patients who use opioids on a managed basis for pain. Those people are being issued Narcan through their doctor’s office,” said Kelly. 

California might be behind the times, compared to the East Coast where Narcan has been used for years to treat heroin overdoses, but many agencies including health and non-profit organizations are arming themselves with the drug, in hopes of saving more lives.

KTVU has learned that the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office has been contacted by the White House National Security Council to become like an ambassador for the state, as the council works to get more agencies in California on board with Narcan.